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‘Bakersfield, Earth:’ Comic Book Review

I found a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum a while back. Basically, you simmer apple cider with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh grated nutmeg for about 20 minutes, then you melt in some butter for richness, a splash of fresh lemon juice for a hint of tartness, and a healthy measure of rum for a kick.  It  warmed my insides, like being under a comfy blanket in front of a fire, with a significant other knowing there’s going to be some hanky panky later.  Well, David Quantic and Tamra Bonvillain’s new comic, Bakersfield, Earth, is like that but in a comic.  They’ve crafted a story with such warmth, heart, and raw sensuality that after you read it you’ll just want to go and find someone and give them the biggest, warmest hug you can, before you both retreat to a quiet corner to see where the night takes you.

Comics are often created and consumed by outcasts, and Bakersfield, Earth tells the story of an outcast like no other.  David Quantic (writer) crafts a story of a rogue alien, “the last remaining member of an alien race from Jupitor called ‘The Corporeals,’” who inhabited the Earth long before humans, creating familiar marvels of the ancient world like the pyramids, Stonehenge (Actually, that was the Martians when they were visiting, but still . . . ), and cheese fries.  The Corporeals roamed the Earth delighting in sensual pleasures until they were all called back to Jupitor by their leader Kaa’laa.  Except our protagonist stayed.  Not wanting to give up the earthly pleasures, our protagonist hid out, occupying human bodies who passed away, taking on their identities.  Quickly, and with good humor and wit, Quantic and Bonvillain bring us up to speed and then introduce us to the newest host, a transgender woman living in Bakersfield, CA.  “Bako” isn’t exactly a progressive metropolis, and alien-inhabited Betrice Connelly struggles with narrow-mindedness, verbal abuse, and physical violence as she continues seeking a place for herself.  Unfortunately, she is a fugitive of her race, and, ultimately, she realizes she has more than just hateful hillbillies to worry about. 

This comic is full of humor and heart.  Quantic’s writing is electric, filled with energy, wit, and charm.  His dialogue is natural and funny and gives his characters instant depth and magnetism.  Tamra Bonvillain, whom you may recognize as the colorist for Joshua Henaman’s comic, Bigfoot: Sword of Earthman, did both art and color for BE, and she shines, exhibiting her skills in several different styles.  From infographic to fantasy to our modern, grubby reality, she imbues the characters and panels with dynamism and weight not often seen in indie comics.  Quantic and Bonvillain leave us on a cliff hanger, so here’s hoping there’s more, much more Bakersfield, Earth very soon!

Sam Rhodes


Favorite MovieYojimboFavorite Game:  The newest version of HaloFavorite Beverage:  Ballast Point's Big Eye IPA


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